Saturday, November 5, 2011

Traces: A Book I Need Your Help With...

I am rereading John Berger.  He writes:
Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does. 
A trace. 

I am contemplating publishing a book of images. Perhaps 30 images or so.  In the last four years I have taken more than 100,000 images, and of those made several hundred images. This idea of a book has me looking at the made images again and wondering as to what traces the collection suggests.

I think of this book as a trace, a visible mark that might suggest what I have witnessed through the lens of my camera. A personal geography of sorts, I have passed through.  The marks we leave in many ways tell who we are, perhaps far better than our words.

So I am hoping you might help me.  I am posting several of the images and would appreciate it if you
  1. might suggest what traces the images suggest
  2. offer any commentary about the set or a particular image.
I hope to use commentary from viewers (with their permission and credit to them) in the work, an idea I am blatantly stealing from Carol Holmes. 

You can post your response on the blog or send it to me directly at


The Constancy of Waves
Wall Street
To Serve and Protect
Homeless in New York
At the Station
Darkness Becomes a Reservoir
Down by the River
The Familiar Falling Away
On Grafton Street
Birds Rising
Coming through the Rye
A Woman Gathering Silence
Ordinary Angels
American Bus Stop V: Prisons
Dreaming of David Hockney
Etta and Butch Go For a Ride
Trees in Reservoir, IV
Be For Me, Like Rain
Bridge in Fog
Bearings Taken
House at the End of the Tracks
Road Work
What Felled You is Important
Shadow and Light
Once at Grand Central
Upper East Side
Out in the Desert


  1. Steal away Mary Ann ;) I love the concept and am happy you like it too!

    (((big hugs)))
    Carol "Cookie" Holmes

  2. the set captures every image as a trace of Big of all inanimate and animate ... flesh and blood, rock and mist, emotion and thought.

    I am always drawn, having seem them in some context before, to the old man playing music in Ireland. He reflects the trace of branches of trees. Why? His face holds the faces of all humanity, originating somewhere from common stock, but branching into many.

  3. I was captured by the first image, The Constancy of Waves, so I'll stick with that. What struck me was a "trace of the universal." The faded corners leave me with a sense of roundness to the central image, and I immediately thought of Jupiter, which also has dark and light bands. That led me to think of the universal in waves, how the smallest elements of physics and the largest elements of planets are fundamentally all part of the same system.

  4. @Pam,

    I had never considered the Big Bang and yet I can see it now that you have grounded my viewing. Thank you. The man playing on Grafton Street is memorable to me as well. Perhaps a starting point in the book.

  5. @Michael,

    It still awes me that what forms us is the stuff of stars, galaxies. Hmm. will need to think about that.